About the Author

James Souchon

Field Guide

James started his guiding career at the world-renowned Phinda Game Reserve, spending four years learning about and showing guests the wonder of the incredibly rich biodiversity that the Maputaland area of South Africa has to offer. Having always wanted to guide in the ...

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21 Comments

on Incredibly Rare Impala Morph

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Joanne Wadsworth
Senior Digital Ranger

I can imagine your astonishment and am glad you have images of this unusual phenomenon. I agree with your possible conclusions of why this has occurred. However I have a friend in the USA who specializes in genetics and will ask him.

James Souchon
Field Guide

Hi Joanne, thanks for your comments and it will be very interesting to hear what he has to say. Regards, James

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

This is interesting James. If I can remember correctly, I think it was last year that there were reports of a female lion with mane. It was somewhere in Botswana or Zambia.

Marinda Drake
Master Tracker

James it is a lioness at Mombo and five lionesses in Moremi Botswana. It is apparently at conception that when the sperm that determine the sex is abherent that this occur. This is probably in my view what happened with the Impala.

James Souchon
Field Guide

Hi Marinda, thanks for your reply. I do wonder if its similar case as to what happened with those lions. All my best to you and Des!

Dina Petridis
Explorer

what we witnessed once was a breading combination of a waterbuck and a red lechwe .
maybe this one is also something like that ???

James Souchon
Field Guide

Hi Dina, that is very unusual to witness as well! Thanks for the photos you sent me. Regards, James

Denise Vouri
Digital Tracker

Very interesting. I can’t comment on the impala anomaly, but while at Mombo Camp a few years ago, we were fortunate enough to sight the lioness with a mane. She was part of a pride that contained three other females, three cubs and a couple of males. That was something to see on safari!!

James Souchon
Field Guide

Hi Denise, I have heard about those lions! It must have been an incredible sighting. Thanks for sharing

Barbara Jones
Explorer

Such a beautiful animal. I don’t know why she has horns, but she is absolutely beautiful! And it seems like she is accepted by the other impalas, something we as humans should also embrace. Thanks so much for sharing these pictures and story. You guys do an awesome job! Can’t wait to visit!

James Souchon
Field Guide

Thanks for the compliments Barbara. There are always so many lessons we can take from nature!

I never expected the story to unfold like this. Wow! Very interesting!

James Souchon
Field Guide

Thanks Guy, it certainly was very interesting to witness!

Mark Ditts
Explorer

Hi James. In my line of work I have come across a few species that are hermaphrodite (I use that term very loosely here). Effectively they have external female genitals but internal testicles (an anatomical abnormality). There is a long explanation as to why this happens which I won’t bore you with. I would bet that this particular female would not be able to reproduce as her internal female organs would be absent/under developed but due to internal testicular tissue she displays male characteristics ie horns.
Thanks for an interesting sighting. Cheers

Mark Ditts
Explorer

My wording was really bad to start there but what I meant was I have seen ‘hermaphrodites’ in a few species I have worked on. Apologies for that

James Souchon
Field Guide

Hi Mark, thanks very much for your reply. It’s always fascinating to witness these anomalies of nature and try and understand them a bit better. Regards, James

Cynthia House
Explorer

How intriguing I wonder if she is fertile ?

James Souchon
Field Guide

Hi Cynthia, I also wonder the same thing. Luckily she is very easily recognised with those strange horns so if she is still around during the impala lambing season at the end of the year we may be able to find out. Having said that we haven’t had any more sightings of her recently so only time will tell. Thanks for your comment. Regards, James

Cynthia House
Explorer

Look forward to hearing more about this unique animal if you sight her again. Thank you for the wonderful blog, I really enjoy my Londolozi ‘fix’ every morning in my inbox….Cynthia

Callum Evans
Guest contributor

I’ve heard of this happening in nyala and kudu, but never in impala!!!

Debbie Marshall
Explorer

HI James – we saw a hermaphrodite impala yesterday at Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Its the first time that my husband (Dr Dave Cooper, Wildlife Veterinarian of several decades) has seen one. We have see similar features in Nyala though. Still, very rare it seems!

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